Nude calendar helps Rwandan survivors

By on October 1, 2004

Sales of the Exposed 2005 calendar will raise money for SURF, an organization that helps survivors of the genocide in Rwanda.

A calendar featuring nude photographs of a group of women in Horsley, Gloucestershire, was launched in a village church last month to mark the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. Thousands of women survivors were systematically and brutally raped, and many are now dying of AIDS as a result.

The calendar, Exposed 2005, will raise money for SURF, an organization that helps survivors of the genocide, according to Church Times newspaper. The 13 women who posed, aged between 30 and 50, said they wanted to “use our bodies in an empowered way to show strength and vulnerability in support of the vulnerable women in Rwanda.”

The images were deliberately photographed so as not to be provocative or sexualized. The photographer was Angela Williams, whose works are in the permanent collection of the National Gallery.

The calendar was launched at a service in St. Martin ‘s, Horsley. It had the approval of the vicar, Rev. Stephen Earley, who says that it is empowering the Rwandan women who had been so debased. People, he said, should see the calendar before making a judgment.

Jo Hofman, one of the featured women, said, “The calendar is challenging, but when people see it they’re really moved by it. They see that what we’re trying to do is beyond words. It’s an act of love and empathy with the people of Rwanda.”

She added: “It is symbolically important to have the launch in a church because that’s where a lot of the atrocities happened. People went to the churches for sanctuary. One young girl told us she looked up at Jesus on the cross as the men came in, and thought it would be okay.”

The calendar is available on www.hwcalendar.co.uk, at the price of £10 ($16 Cdn).

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